Wednesday, 27 December 2006

Windows Vista: whose rights are managed?

Here's proof, if ever it were needed, that the only security Microsoft has ever really been interested in is its share price. While this, in itself, is not a fault (every company has to pursue its own interests first to survive, and they aren't actually damaging the world), the fault is when they profess to be taking such steps "for the customer".

It's this sort of aggressive spin that makes M$ such a perennially 80's money-grabbing company.

Monday, 11 December 2006

The music "industry" - desparate & greedy

So, after years of suing teenagers on the grounds that they were protecting artists, the RIAA have decided that artists get too much. It seems that in the age of the corporation, creativity is something to be exploited in others. To be creative is to be exploited.

Yet, clearly there is a way to make money("Google's copyright fix", Business 2.0) out of supposed piracy. By essentially using your audience to market for you, you can cut the promotions costs and get a much clearer view of whether your newest creative venture will be a success, or, if it's looking bad, what your audience doesn't like about it. It means sacrificing control (attempting to determine taste) for faster reactivity to taste.

The RIAA's inability to adapt to this new business model can only be a reflection of the sham of modern music. Sure, there's creativity, but as soon as a genuinely good idea comes along, it is bludgeoned into blandness or marketed to death through repetition or copycat bands/songs. Art is about performance, and artists should be paid for performances, and should gain credit for their performances, not for some mass promotion machine.

Wednesday, 6 December 2006

Let my cell phone go

I always wondered what gave mobile telcos the right to lock my property - especially as I'm contractually bound to them for a period of time anyway. I appreciate why they want to do it (to bind the latest, coolest handset to their network), but what gives them the right? Well, as it now turns out, nothing: Cell Phones Freed! Poor Suffer? (Wired News):
"In the mid-1990s, big content providers were complaining that they couldn't distribute their work digitally if clever crackers were free to break Hollywood's digital rights management, or DRM, schemes at will. The DMCA was enacted to promote the digital distribution of content by making it illegal to circumvent DRM controls placed on music, movies and games. Since then, companies have repeatedly tried using the DMCA to quash unwanted behavior that has nothing to do with copyright infringement."

It seems that a new ruling has now preventing them from exploiting a protective law for their own gains.

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

It's all about the pixels

I've always been doubtful about camera megapixels. It reminds me of PC processor chip one-upmanship: my 2Ghz chip is twice as fast as your 1Ghz chip. It's nice to see some empirical evidence (Engadget) that dispels the megapixel impact.

I was also reading about HD TVs this week: apparently most HD TVs these days are interlaced, rather than progressive scan - that's what the 'i' is in 1080i (as opposed to 1080p). Again, it reminded me of the old debates about CRT monitors and refresh rates: people would go for higher refresh rates, without realising that the monitor switched to interlaced at higher rates.

So buyer of pixels beware.

Thursday, 9 November 2006

Zune: IPod It’s Not (NYT)

Ouch! Proof that even in the corporate world, money can't buy you everything. I'm not sure why Microsoft is going down this path. They could still win out, though, if the Zune software starts breaking iTunes, like they did to Realplayer with Windows Media player.

Tuesday, 7 November 2006

Ultimate gaming experience

Wow! Check this out for scenery. I've seen the old 12 screen flight simulators... all well and good, but why not just hop in a real plane? This is vista-vision fantasy world. Much more interesting!

Monday, 30 October 2006

Freedom Phones

It's easy to recognise how liberating mobile phones are, at a personal level. But what about their socio-political impact? Liberation technology ( covers this very well, and summarises with a telling quote: “When the dominant institutions of society no longer have the monopoly of mass-communication networks, the dialectics between power and counter-power is, for better or worse, altered for ever.”

Then there's the economic impact: in this article the headline number is 1/2 million South Africans banking by mobile phone, in preference to (and mostly in absence of) cash or physical banks.

Thursday, 26 October 2006

Macs should be made by Dell, says Gartner

I always wonder what analysts are thinking when they write this sort of summary. Are they really blind to the Apple brand equity, and their reknowned ethos of design perfection? Or are they looking too hard at the numbers? Or are they blithely applying history's magic brush? [Apple refused to license their early computers and got crushed by the burgeoning PC market].

Their assumption is that Apple are a software company, whereas most pundits assume the opposite: they are a hardware company, with the OS being a loss-leading differentiator. I prefer to think of them as more of a Nike: a brand representing a philosophy. The key for such a company is to set the tone of your market, whatever that may be, to maximise customer loyalty. Loyalists buy you because you're the best, and the 'cool factor' wows the initiates. Who assembles Apple computers? Who cares? Only Apple need to care because their brand assures the customer that they will receive a high quality purchasing experience. If Apple felt they could get a better production deal from Dell, I'm sure they'd happily bring them on board as long as it didn't diminish their brand.

To use a car analogy: Ford owns Jaguar, but Jaguars are not Fords, and never should be. [Ford tried that with the early X-type and it flopped].

Tuesday, 26 September 2006

Limewire's acidic response to the RIAA

It's about time someone struck back at the record companies' arrogant grumbling about pirates crashing their oligopoly. And finally Limewire has.

According to them the record companies

...have engaged in these unfair business practices for the specific purpose of eliminating sources of decentralized peer-to-peer file sharing and acquiring a monopoly over digital distribution of commercially valuable copyrighted music and movie content.

Sock it to 'em boys!

Thursday, 14 September 2006

Apple iPhone - printed evidence?

iPhone newspaper image
There has been speculation about Apple producing an iPhone for years, ever since somebody noticed that used to point to a page at Apple. There have been endless mock-ups, and every Apple event for the past 2 years has featured iPhone speculation in the pre-hype. This is the best evidence I've seen yet, although I question why they'd release it at such an (non-)event, and not with the new iPods & iTunes announcements this week.

Wednesday, 6 September 2006

Quantum Mechanics for dummies

I've never really grasped quantum mechanics. I know it's about quarks, qbits and probabilities, but couldn't really see where it fitted into normal mechanics. Finally, here's an explanation that I understand. Who'd have thought the humble surveyor's wheel was so vital to physics?

Friday, 1 September 2006

Crazy Origami

I can just about make a cup out of paper - a handy, pragmatic, boyscout thing to do. I remember at Uni the discussion about the mathmatical complexities of trying to write origami software. Well, it seems someone's done it, and the results are breath-taking. The dragon is particularly amazing - one piece of paper?!

Friday, 11 August 2006

Subtlely profound

I cn see why these additional OSX Leopard imporovements were not touted in the WWDC keynote. They would have bored every lay person to tears. That said, these are quite subtle yet fundamental tweaks. Gmail showed us the possible alternative uses of RSS by making your inbox an RSS feed, so embedding RSS features into the OS is a neat move. Same with iCal and addressbook. And enhancing the script-to-framework programming to Ruby and Python is excellent future-proofing - it means that whatever language or script you prefer, you can still use OSX natively. That said, it could also be a virus writer's heaven..!

Thursday, 10 August 2006

Hyped technologies for 2006 [printer-friendly] | The Register

This is one of these research companies' (Gartner in this case) better ideas: a prediction of where technologies are in terms of hype, rather than in terms of who is selling what this month. It's actually quite informative - especially in distinguishing between tectical and strategic implications.

Wednesday, 9 August 2006

Another year, another Mac OS - well, partly

This (Macworld) is a nice article that sums up my thoughts on the latest Steve Jobs show. It covered a few of the new OS' features,, but with an emphatic, not to say cryptic, caveat (see linked article).

I also liked his final comment:-
"And besides, it’s a testament to Apple that they routinely produce products that are worth speculating about. When I get a new Microsoft product in the mail it’s often like that moment when you’ve got both feet on the brakes but you know that the car can’t possibly stop in time. You don’t know what’s going to happen. You just hope it won’t hurt too much."

Monday, 7 August 2006

Leopard: purring, rather than roaring

The notable aspect of today's sneak preview of Apple's next OS was what was hidden. They were at pains to point out that there were bigger features that they wished to keep secret, to prevent Microsoft photocopiers whirring.
The more I think about this (see last post), the more I think Apple have the right angle: they're putting the 'personal' back into personal computing. They're driving home the idea of their boxes being specialist media manipulators. As media becomes ever more digital, especially at the personal level, these tools increasingly become as indispensable as the gadgets they supplement - the glue between your camera, your music collection, your video and whatever network you want to communicate over.

What's especially poignant is that these feature all require rock solid hardware at the client end, unlike office applications that can be (and are increasingly) run over a network from a central server (eg. webmail).

Sunday, 6 August 2006

The future of the OS

I've just been looking at YouOS and Goowy, two of the latest, free, online personal OS offerings. YouOS, in particular, has come a long way in the year since I last looked at it.

Which leads me to conclude that the next mainstream OS will not be desktop-based. It will be hosted by central servers. Consumers' security concerns can be alleviated by tight integration with keyfobs, and possibly a light, encrypted local instance of the OS running on linux (maybe even on the keyfob).

The enterprise OS is a different story: the winner there will not necessarily be the most technologically advanced, but just the one who wins the skillset wars.

Where are the tech dev skills? Somebody give me a Google Earth overlay of tech dev skills: geography and skill type. That will lead to the next paradigm.

Finally, a convincing Human-Computer interface

I've seen loads of HCI ideas over the years, from 5 finger typepads, to voice commands. All are, in my view, flawed because they require different types of intuition - there is still something that has to be learned. It's like asking two different people to sort a pile of random papers. Without further instructions, they are likely to sort it in different ways: one might choose colour-coding, the other alphabetic. The amazing thing about this video is that this technology is not sci-fi, yet it is incredibly intuitive. It's tactile, and while the sample applications are good, the possibilities in research, design, gaming - everything beyond typing, basically - are mind-boggling.

Thursday, 3 August 2006

The music industry - Southpark satire

It always disgusts me when record companies and the RIAA talk about downloading music depriving artists, whereas contracts that effectively steal an artist's work from them are 'part of the business'. Sock it to 'em, Matt & Trey.

Wednesday, 2 August 2006

E-rope: saving the planet one socket at a time - Engadget

This is genius, as in one of those ideas that, once you see it you wonder how you didn't think of it. Actually, I'm sure I had atoy like this as a kid...

Monday, 31 July 2006

Digital animation - the next step

pic from Wall St Journal
I suppose it was only a matter of time, but it's impressive nonetheless: this new image capture method gets the detail that motion capture misses. Think of the applications and mis-applications: faking news, real news involving "Face Off" incidents, porn...

The old 'thief pretends to be policeman' scam goes online

I suppose it was only a matter of time, but what's interesting about this (The Register) is the difficulty they seem to be having in stopping it. A 'hardened' server in China? That's the trouble with freedom, I suppose: it doesn't have a conscience.

Thursday, 20 July 2006

Chinese mini-landscaping

You've got to wonder who scours the earth looking for these things, but this really is rather extraordinary. It looks so accurate that one can't help wondering whether it's a Google Earth imaging glitch, rather than some giant landscape model.

Wednesday, 19 July 2006

Google power!

Most people know that Google Search is not just a search engine, but this quick reference really does demonstrate, at a glance, that Google really is a powerful command line interface for the Internet.

Thursday, 29 June 2006

A good summary of the web revolution

I've read much hype about the internet and 'web 2.0' over the years. Most describes it as techie utopia and cultural phenomena (both good and bad). Here's a bit more, but it gets to the essence of the web - that it is, increasingly, a social phenomenon rather than a technical one.

The industrial revolution isn't remembered for its machines, but for the way it shaped society: migration from countryside to cities, merchants/industrialists superceding aristocracy in wealth, the birth of the modern corporation. This article provides a hint of how the early days of the web many be remembered in years to come.

Friday, 23 June 2006

World Cup tech

Here's an interesting insight into what goes into (and out of) planning the tech infrastructure for a World Cup. I like the stats:
20 terabytes of converged voice and data traffic - or enough to fill 5,120 iPod Nanos at a rate of 170 per day
I wonder if that will become a standard measure as these sort of events evolve? "That was an 8,000 iPod event, that was!"

Wednesday, 21 June 2006

Firefox Extension primer

Have Firefox, will extend. I can't think of what I'd want to write and extension about, but it's useful to know what's involved. Stops me getting out-Xuled or over-chromed by techies...

Sunday, 18 June 2006

An Open game console? Bring it on.

The GP2X is shaping up to be a nice piece of hardware for those who are tired of the proprietary games consoles and their expensive games. Neat features include running on Linux, the use of USB 2.0 and SD card technology and the ability to play everything (movies, photos and games) through a TV. It evens has emulators for most legacy consoles and the games are free.
All it needs to annihilate the competition is WiFi.

Icing on the cake? All of this costs a mere £125 - haven't you got one yet?

Tuesday, 13 June 2006

Interesting perspective on the Blackberry's future

I've never been a Blackberry fan. They seem to lack a personal touch, which I suppose is why corporate IT like them so much.This review (Mobile Tech Review) suggests that they may even be at risk in that area: "Research in Motion have again evolved the BlackBerry. There's no denying that this is a better BlackBerry than yesterday's, even with the dreadful construction quality. I'm going to assume that the next BlackBerry will rectify that backward step. I am fearful for research in motion and their future though, I don't think that they are evolving fast enough; I think this is a good product but it is a year old already.

In the enterprise market the BlackBerry still has a solid and faithful following but in the company that I am responsible for I have already replaced BlackBerry with Pocket PC and the reason for that comes down to the exchange server that I run, my Pocket PCs, smartphones and PalmOne Treos can synchronize with exchange directly, they don't need the costly BlackBerry Enterprise Server to help them out. By choosing Pocket PC over BlackBerry I'm just saving money, improving reliability, adding features and cutting out another step that I must provide and support, it's as simple as that.

If you're a BlackBerry die hard you'll like this new model but if you're a pragmatist I think you might conclude that the rest of the world has overtaken the BlackBerry. RIM, we thank you for the Push email; we’ll always remember you for that."

A Decent Apple Synopsis

This seemed a useful article to post as it contains most of the material which technocrats tend to argue on when the subject of Apple rears its head. Essentially it argues that biggest is not always best (a mantra used far too often in the industry) and that, just because you don't dominate a market, you are not going to fall under capitalist pressure.

Tuesday, 6 June 2006

Google Office?

They've already bought Writely, which is an online wordprocessor (v good one, actually - it even does PDFs). And, as the link above shows, there's a spreadsheet imminent.

Begging the corporate question: what's an OS? That's so 20th C, man. Soon it will only be multimedia that requires an OS (ie. heavy processor/network stuff), and which OS would you choose for that? (Hint: check out these Final Cut Express demos)

Here's the question, though: how does this web app directly make revenue?
Google ads on the page? That's fine for a search results page, but for a productivity page? Imagine if Microsoft did banner ads in Office. Putting aside the outrage from license paying customers, I suspect it might bug your typical office drone too. So, what's the alternative? Charging for it? Come on, this is Google. They're the nice guys who give great stuff away for free, and you can even earn money from them. They can't charge us, or we'd boycott them, like the spoilt websurfers we are. So... maybe there's no direct revenue. Maybe it will all be funded from search page ad revenue. It certainly seems to be how Google Calendar is configured. Not sure how that will fly with investors. It certainly doesn't make much business sense: you want to keep the revenue as close to the costs in a diverse portfolio like Google's. So, what's the plan guys?

Monday, 22 May 2006

Crazy aviation

Physics says why not? Why not pour a cup of tea whilst performing a barrel roll in an aircraft with the engines off?

Common sense says you're barmy. But then common sense is actually not that common, really, is it?

Wednesday, 10 May 2006

Anti-virus Schmirus

This article just goes to prove my belief that some anti-virus vendors are like dentists who own doughnut shops: a dichotomy of complementary goods.
"Heard about these nasty viruses? Don't worry, guv, we'll protect you...for an unlimited subscription fee, naturally."
I wouldn't be too surprised to find that these unscrupulous vendors are writing these viruses, especially the ones which "aren't in the wild yet".
Only now McAfee have been caught short trying to tout to Apple users who tend to be more discerning than their PC brethren and who also know when the statistics don't add up. I'm sure it won't be long before Apple's new-found popularity with PC users will mean that their products finally succumb to the pandora's box that is the computer virus -- let's just hope that Apple can shoe-horn AV into OS X (as Microsoft is rumoured to be doing with Vista) before vendors such as McAfee and Norton start circling and demanding their pounds of flesh.

Tuesday, 2 May 2006

High-tech good ol' fashioned retail

Hearing so much about high-tech companies making millions out of selling on the web, it's easy to overlook this instance (Wired News) of a high-tech going the other way, or, as they would put it "thinking different".

Having visited half a dozen of these stores myself, I can vouch that it's definitely more than merely displaying goods & selling them. They all seem to have an atmosphere more like a very sophisticated hobbyists club. I've always wondered, though, whether they were bearing fruit for Apple, or whether they were expensive loos-leaders/follies. The stats in the article are impressive, although the analyst's (singular) prediction is interesting...

Monday, 1 May 2006

Treo 650 ROM Tool - finally!

Even with memory cards, internal memory is still premium space on PDAs (reminds me of the old main memory/XMS/EMS issues with DOS!). Because Treo's are phones, they're even more full of clutter: language files and network/vendor tied software that has been superceded by 3rd party stuff (eg. TCPMP and/or Pocket Tunes beat Realplayer hands down).

There was an earlier tool by a guy called Shadowmite that did a reasonable job, but Palm clamped down on it after they received too many support calls from people who tried & failed to use that tool. Now there's a new ROM Tool that promises to be more user-friendly and more repairable.

Wednesday, 26 April 2006

When Google & Firefox mesh...

Gmail is magnificently subtle, from the fact that it's invitation only to the elegance of the interface (threaded discussions, rss, address autocomplete etc.). Even its revenue model is subtle - those discrete text ads, rather than irritating, big, blinking flash banners. Then there's the storage space.

I'd seen a 3rd party tool for using all that Gmail space as online disk space a while back. Trouble was, it needed to be installed on the client and there are separate vendors for the mac and PC versions. Then some bright spark made Gmail Space - an add-on for Firefox that allows you to use spare Gmail space as file space. Nice!

Update: so you have to install the Firefox extension on each machine, right? Not with Firefox Portable.

Monday, 17 April 2006

A study of open-source business

This is a fascinating article ( ) about the pros & cons of open source, not just s software, but as a system of organised work.

Wednesday, 5 April 2006

Doublethink Different

This (Wired News) is an excellent comment about the state of Apple computers (small c) today. I'm not a rabid mac fan, but I admire the way they try to please their consumers - often by pushing the design/usability envelope. The possible irony here is that if they do go after corporate customers, they could lose that consumer-pleasing, user-friendly focus.

Monday, 3 April 2006

Paul Allen and Microsoft

It could almost be out of a film, except this one doesn't have a happy ending... yet. That's not to say Paul Allen is a victim - he's done rather well. But it's sad that the bad guys apparently win. This helps to explain why they (Gates & Ballmer) loathe open source software so much.

Thursday, 30 March 2006

A Brief History of Microsoft FUD

This article is a well-researched piece about Microsoft's various attempts to unseat Linux. What better proof that MS are a bigoted monopoly, than the fact that their only serious OS competitors in the last 10 years give their products away for free?

Thursday, 23 March 2006

Speed Camera Map

Another handy map here, this time for UK speed cameras.

UK traffic info map

Here's a nice mash-up website: it takes BBC traffic news and x-refs it with Google Maps. Grouped by county & very clean looking. Not sure how up to date it is, though.

Thursday, 16 March 2006

Amphibious Snake-Like Robot

This is incredible: versatile and very lifelike.

Idea: camera for Video iPod

WHile reading this article, particularly the specs of the Broadcom chip, I was struck by the prospect of a camera for the Vipod. It could simply be a scaled-down version of the iSight that attaches to the port at the bottom of the Vipod and runs width-wise along the bottom of it.

Video podcast-tastic, eh?

Wednesday, 15 March 2006

MacIntel... MacInDell?

My first thought on news of the Intel-based MacBook was that this might be a tacit swipe at Microsoft's Windows market. Sure, it's a nice new Apple laptop, but the argument for Intel chips seemed a little, well, technical for Steve Jobs. Better chip efficiency?? You could hardly imagine the world's graphic designers salivating in anticipation. I thought it was either a consolidation move, after IBM managed to woo Xbox and Playstation with their new Core chips (afer all, what priority would they give Apple after megadeals like that?), or maybe the chip efficiency was important for a possible expansion into more mobile technologies.

This article ( puts an interesting angle on the OS competition, although I'm not sure if Dell have the clout, or the legal leeway to be able to offer other competing OSes. I hope they do, though, if only to sharpen Microsoft up a bit.

Friday, 10 March 2006

A definite glimpse of Web 2.0: Zoho Writer & Pageflakes

I keep seeing articles about "Web 2.0" and people waxing lyrical about AJAX. While the examples always impressed (Google Maps being the most obvious), I couldn't help feeling that we should have had this all along; that the early HTML, static web was a regression in UI standards for the sake of connectivity. I mean, people have been enjoying incredible shared worlds online in games like Unreal Tournament for years now, so why all this fuss because finally some web pages can handle ansynchronicity? While the examples are whizzy, they've hardly been "every day" practical, unless you're a geography teacher or a news hound.

Until now. I spotted a simple, plain ad for Pageflakes on Digg, and was intrigued enough by the beautifully simple interface and lack of bandwidth-sucking ads to try it. Verrry nice, and with the decent array of widgets, lots of potential. But while those widgets were neat, they weren't, again, productive. A news reader (got one), an addressbook (got several), a clock (??) etc. So, demo stuff, essentially.

Then today I spot a new widget: Zoho Writer - the online word processor. Yet another WYSIWYG 'inline' text editor? Well, yes. And much, much more. Going to the homepage, I tried the demo user. Import your Word docs, export Word, PDF, HTML, to your blog, to email friends (as link or shared doc that they can edit too). Save docs online, save templates online. And all integrated into Pageflakes, making the latter, with my iCal widget and my Gmail widget, start to look like a handy, access-anywhere desktop.

Google, buy these. NOW.

Update (3rd April): It appears Google have already bought one!

Thursday, 9 March 2006

Boffins produce plasma at two billion kelvins | The Register

Any facility with a remit of (deep breath)"new experimental environments to help validate computer codes responsible for maintaining a reliable nuclear weapons stockpile safely and securely" sounds suspiciously like a stupidly expensive boffins' dosshouse. Sure enough, look what crazy science they've managed this week. And, like reality TV wannabes, they seem to have stumbled into some kind of breakthrough. Crazy...

Wednesday, 8 March 2006

Text messaging discovered in US!

This is a question I've often pondered myself, having received quizzical looks from Americans in the past regarding the topic of text messaging. Why don't they get it / use it / exploit it like they relentlessly exploit every other communication medium? Finally, this article ( explains why.

I wonder how long before they're touting their "new discovery" to the rest of the world..!

Sunday, 5 March 2006

E-Ink - the Tablet Revolution

E-Ink, I predict, will be one of those inventions that will just invade everyone's life eventually, as mobile phones have done. It consists of microscopic black beads of ink suspended in a white liquid which rise to the surface when a current is passed through them - only when the current is switched off, the image remains. This has the added effect of producing something readable in any light and using no power except to change the image.

Seiko, the inventors, will initally launch a watch with the technology, but soon it will extend to book readers (backed by such authors as Dan Brown) and even bill boards and price tags in supermarkets (Tesco has plans to use it). Imagine passing down an isle with your (RFID'd) Clubcard in your pocket and watching the prices change just for you!

Once colour is introduced, it's only a matter of time before all printed material is superceded by this technology, with editions wirelessly downloaded and pages changed at the touch of a button.

Wednesday, 22 February 2006

Macs not 100% secure shocker

After much news about the mac vulnerabilities exposed over the last couple of weeks, it's nice to finally find an article (Wired) with a sensible perspective.

Let's face it, these things happen to Windows at least a couple of times a week, and that's not big news. Nor are these issues 'exploits' - merely vulnerabilities, with published remedies. I still don't have to fear malicious VB script files in my email, like Windows users. Nor do I have to worry about dubious pop-ups in my browser, like Windows users. Even if I did manage to foolishly download a dodgy file, the chances are it would be a .exe file, which OSX can't run.

So, Mac vulnerabilities a big deal? In themselves, no. In the fact that macs are vulnerable? No - of course they are. In the fact that security people deem them worthy of examination? Yes, it finally means that people are taking them seriously.

Friday, 17 February 2006

Security is a culture thing, not a technology thing

The best security in the world, beaten by human curiosity and the promise of something for nothing.
Need to crack a company's network? Just hand out free CDs to every employee and, chances are, you will strike gold and someone will load your code.
And to think that most corporates invest huge amounts of time and money trying to implement computer security...

Friday, 3 February 2006

The rise & stumble of Google

This is an interesting article: Gunning for Google (; it has a pretty well-balanced view, which you'd expect from, although the reserach from a similar Economist article was more thorough. For instance, The Economist noted that Google's foray into China was a sensible capitulation (what would have happened to their share price if they hadn't?) and that their non-censored chinese site, outside China, would still run. So they weren't taking anything away from their chinese audience, they were simply adding a restricted version. Better than nothing at all. Also, those accusing Google of selling their soul chose to overlook Google's resistance to the DoJ demanding their data.
One revealing quote from the article (Forbes, not Economist):
"Google was headed for a fall, if only because, damn it, we’re all so jealous. It went public at $85 in August 2004. At over $400 lately, it has created four billionaires, and according to the company, one in five of its employees are now multimillionaires. (The investor relations chief, who has got to be younger than I am, is said to have recently retired.) Sergey Brin and Larry Page, each now barely into their 30s, founded Google in 1999 after landing a $100,000 check at lunch from Sun Microsystems (nasdaq: SUNW - news - people ) co-founder Andrew Bechtolsheim. Now Brin and Page are worth $16 billion apiece. Isn’t that reason enough to hate them? "

Altruism or Capitalism?

The sub-$100 laptop is coming, but are the implementors doing it out of a sense of altruism or for some other less-laudible reason? Also, note who the potential implementors are -- not faceless corporates, but businessmen in the top of their markets.
I think this article shows the right sense of skepticism and hope and I especially like the reference to free mesh networks - information freedom at very little cost just by taking up the slack that the telcos don't worry about.
The key to all of this is to find the method that will cause the least pain for the greatest gain; something that the sub-$100 laptop is trying to publicly prove can be accomplished.

Tuesday, 31 January 2006

A lot of effort for a tiny reward (Neutrino News)

How does one detect a neutrino? This (New Scientist) looks like one of those hippie physicists visions.
We need, like, a biiig bucket, man. And it's gotta be in ice. So, we, like, dig a huge hole, maybe 1km wide by 2.5km deep, in, like, the south pole. Yeah! Then we put some really sensitive sensors in there, and wait for... uhm, I dunno, like, maybe a decade or two?

Dude, I hope it works, otherwise that's an awfully big and cold money pit...

Friday, 27 January 2006

Internet Security from a biostatistician's point of view

Fascinating look at internet security with special regard to the dangers of monopoly in an interconnnected world.

Tuesday, 24 January 2006

Macworld: Secrets: Launch your Mac

With any OS update there are always gems and, like the best jewelry, the best are often the smallest. Case in point: Mac OS X Tiger's launchd command. One little command that yields so many options. Macworld: Secrets: Launch your Mac shows us a few samples, and a useful frontend for it.

Monday, 23 January 2006

Nintendo DS for something useful

Finally all that cute, intriguingly useful hardware may be put to good use, by this. The pretext is for using your DS as a game controller for your PC/Mac, which is a good enough idea anyway, but to do this job it has to detect the associated wireless network. Any wireless network. So it's a useful, handy network scanner too.

Wednesday, 11 January 2006

Apple at the crossroads.

Should Apple Open Up? This interesting article from Business Week discusses the options available to Apple, now that they've unveiled their first foray into the Intel world. I often ponder Apple's strategy because, unlike all the other computer tech companies, they don't like to pander to corporates. In fact, if you believe their branding, they don't like to pander at all. Rather, they like to fulfil the wishes you haven't even thought of yet. But are they the Mercedes to Microsoft's Ford, or are they the Maserati to Microsoft's BMW? The crux comes down to whether the Intel Macs can crack the mass consumer market. Their bid is to ride the digital consumer wave: digital audio leading to digital photos, video and all the sharing enablement that the internet provides. Domestic digital media management, basically. The question is, do most people really care? Apple always runs the risk of being too slick for the mass market...

Monday, 2 January 2006

Red Herring's Top 100 Small-Cap: Computing

These companies should be interesting to watch over the next year. Not just from the money perspective, but from the technology direction perspective.